NEW YORK — Today, the Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships (OCUIR) is announcing the recipients of its 2016 Local Initiative Grants. These grants were awarded to organizations who lead special projects designed to strengthen ecumenical and/or interreligious relationships. A special fourth grant was also awarded to encourage the involvement of seminaries in ecumenical and interreligious education.
“Awarding these Local Initiatives Grants furthers OCUIR’s mission and supports groups seeking to deepen interreligious relationships and advance peace,” said Jean Hawxhurst, OCUIR Associate Ecumenical Staff Officer of Leadership Development.
The recipients and their winning projects include:
Interfaith Mission Service in Huntsville, AL who hosts a “Hometown Pilgrimage” in which approximately 20 individuals from local faith communities including United Methodist, Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Jewish and Muslim, will visit each other’s houses of worship where they will participate in services and a special Q&A session.
First United Methodist Church of Dallas and their efforts to bring two congregations of different races, one predominantly caucasian and the other African American, together to create a “racial reconciliation” movement in the Dallas area, while reaching out to members of other denominations in the process.
Detroit Conference of the United Methodist Church Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships and their creation of a study guide and 4-6 week program to sensitize major Christian faith groups to the communication habits and cultural behaviors of other faith groups.
Southern Philippines Methodist Colleges Incorporated is the recipient of the “pilot project” grant for their creation of a certificate program in ecumenism through a Methodist seminary on the island of Mindanao. The program will be open mainly to laity seeking to learn more about the Ecumenical Movement, with the hope that in time, other seminaries will be encouraged to implement the same type of certificate offering.
OCUIR’s vision is for The United Methodist Church to strengthen Christian unity and deepen interreligious relationships. Local Initiative Grants are available to groups whose work aligns with that vision.
For more information about the Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships or this year’s grantees, please contact Jean Hawxhurst, OCUIR Associate Ecumenical Staff Officer at JHawxhurst@ocuir.org.
The Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships of the Council of Bishops (OCUIR) is part of The United Methodist Church and seeks to strengthen Christian unity, interreligious relationships and work toward peace.